Hunger in the news

27 March 2014

Nigeria is facing a possible food supply crisis this farming season, according to traders, as the agricultural sector grapples with a predicted shorter rainy season, sectarian violence and greater demand from Niger. Food experts have raised the alarm after the country's meteorological agency said this year's rainy season could be shorter than usual, compounding a likely fall in production due to insecurity. Nigeria's agricultural sector is heavily dependent on the rains, with the bulk of its produce cultivated in the north and central region.

21 March 2014

Last month, Valerie Amos, the UN's humanitarian chief, called for an extra $2bn (£1.25bn) from donors to combat another looming food crisis in the Sahel. Traditionally, these men would be leaving around this time of year to look for jobs in neighbouring Nigeria, but the World Food Programme is paying 25,000 CFA a month ($52) as part of a cash-for-work scheme to clear the lake. "Our research shows that it can take up to three years for people to fully recover from a crisis," said Benoit Thiry, WFP country director. Three droughts across the Sahel in fewer than eight years had severely tested people's coping mechanisms, he added. "We have to act now to make sure that gains we've made in recent years are not lost, so that people have alternatives to just borrowing money again to get themselves through the next crisis."

29 May 2013

Northern Nigeria’s grain trade, which supplies almost half of the Sahel’s cereals, has slowed severely, while abnormally high prices of staple grains across the Sahel are causing serious food security concerns in this chronically vulnerable region. (..) World Food Programme (WFP) market analysts report that grain supply is low in many of the main markets across the region, and that fewer traders from Niger and elsewhere are crossing the border to re-supply in Nigeria. (..) In highly import-dependent Niger, “this situation must raise a red flag,” said WFP market analyst Jean-Martin Bauer, referring to poor trade conditions that spurred Niger’s 2005 and to some extent the 2010 food crises. “If trade slows down from Nigeria to Niger, it’s a huge issue for all countries depending on Nigeria,” he said.

14 February 2013

Up to 10 million people across the Sahel region are at risk of food insecurity in 2013 and 1 million children are at risk of severe acute malnutrition, according to the United Nations. The U.N. regional humanitarian coordinator for the Sahel, David Gressly, talks to AlertNet about preventing malnutrition, building resilience and other priorities for the region this year. He says getting the money for these activities is likely to be a challenge – without a drought being the rallying point for raising funds.

21 December 2012

Despite good rains across much of the Sahel this year, 1.4 million children are expected to be malnourished - up from one million in 2012, according to the 2013 Sahel regional strategy. (..) But humanitarians worry of donor fatigue and many are concerned possible military intervention in Mali will distract donors from the chronic food insecurity and malnutrition crises in the region. (..) Alain Cordeil, head of the World Food Programme (WFP) in Mauritania, voiced his fears. “If we only have political interest from donors for refugees, we will not solve the problems for this region…This could be very chaotic,” he told IRIN.

10 December 2012

Addressing a meeting at the FAO headquarters in Rome – attended by the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on the Sahel, Romano Prodi, and other senior UN officials and mediators dealing directly with the Sahel crisis – FAO’s Director-General, José Graziano da Silva, noted that the relation between food insecurity, hunger and the dispute over natural resources and conflicts was particularly evident in the Sahel.

1 October 2012

Already beset with a severe hunger crisis, the West African nation of Niger is now grappling with the worst flooding in 80 years. (..) The rains, which were essential to help a nation that has suffered droughts in 2005, 2010 and this year, have destroyed thousands of acres of crops, hurting thousands of desperate families.

17 September 2012

Even at the best of times, one out of every three girls in Niger marries before her 15th birthday, a rate of child marriage among the highest in the world. Now this custom is being layered on top of a crisis. At times of severe drought, parents pushed to the wall by poverty and hunger are marrying their daughters at even younger ages.

17 September 2012

The growing regularity of droughts across the Sahel region has left millions in need of emergency food assistance, the UN humanitarian food agency announced today, while also warning that malnutrition was still rampant in Senegal, Chad, Niger and Mauritania. A spokesperson for the World Food Programme (WFP), Elisabeth Byrs, told reporters in Geneva that the UN agency already assisted six million people in the Sahel during the month of July – but cautioned that humanitarian needs still remained “huge” ahead of the October harvest.

6 September 2012

During the lean season, WFP is providing special fortified food to prevent malnutrition to close to 1 million children under 2 as well as nursing mothers. (..) “Preventing and treating acute malnutrition is at the core of WFP’s response in the country,” said Darline Raphael, head of WFP’s nutrition unit in Niger. Malnutrition has always been a concern in the country, especially during the lean season.